It is a question I have been dreaming about since I can remember. Could I for example drive to Argentina from Amsterdam, or can I drive all the way to South-africa? What are the extremities of a get-as-far-as-I-can-get road trip and what are the typical routes.
I did a route like that last year with a friend of mine. We started in Belgium, went first to Ukraine, then down through Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Syria and Jordan, where took the boat to Egypt, then went down to Sudan and Ethiopia.
We could easily have driven further down, but we ran out of time. (Planning to continue later on in my/our life.)
We avoided Israel as otherwise it can be difficult to enter other countries (especially Egypt and Sudan) when you have Israelian stamps in your passport. Although we've been also told that you can get stamps on a separate paper, so you can easily remove them after you left the country. But this is still no guarantee they will let you in as an attentive border control agent could see that there is a period of time missing between different stamps in your passport and still refuse to let you in.
Another point which might be interesting: most countries tell you you need a Carnet de Passage to be able to temporarily import a vehicle. We experienced that it is actually possible to do a trip like that without a Carnet. See this question for more information:
Another tidbit of trivia worth mentioning: Did you know, once you get on to the European highway E40 (which doesn't run far from Amsterdam) driving East, you can actually travel more than 8000 kilometer up to Ridder in Kazakhstan near the Chinese border without actually leaving that road!
From 1995 to 2010 Italian Radio Television (RAI - Radio Televisione Italiana), conducted a series of road trips with a couple of trucks, usually starting in Italy, with the final destination on various continents including South America, (South) Africa and Asia.
So it would be possible to do, but you would need special trucks (not cars), a lot of money, crew...
All these trips were recorded and produced as a series of very nice documentaries.
List of their intercontinental trips from the Wikipedia page (in Italian only):
- Overland 1: Rome - New York (via land), 1995-1996
- Overland 2: New York - Tierra del Fuego - San Paolo, 1997
- Overland 3: Cape Town - North Cape, Norway, 1998
- Overland 6: Genoa - Sahara - Turin, 2002
- Overland 12: Turin - South Africa - Rome, 2010
- Overland 13: Milan - Shanghai (Expo), 2010
You can certainly go all over Asia. As for Africa, there's nothing in the way except politics, and the ruggedness of your vehicle. For other continents, you'll probably need a specialist vehicle to traverse the ice cap to get across from the top of Russia to the top of Canada. Once you're there, there's nothing physically stopping you driving down to Argentina!
From Amsterdam you can drive to South Africa, it's not as unique as you might think. The hardest part is some of the African countries that have unstable political situations. It changes all the time, the best source of information is other travelers you meet neighbouring countries (The locals always think the next country is a dangerous place). The 'route-normale' nowadays is to take the eastern side of the continent.
If you accept ferries to ship you car from Europe to Africa, the answer to the 'as-far-as-you-can-get' question is: everywhere (except Antarctica). The Russia to Alaska route has been done, but it was an mayor-expedition type trip. This route is, however, no longer possible, due to the temperatures being high in winter.
The point is you need time and the continued motivation to just go.
Confucius once said: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."